US President Donald Trump who had earlier wanted to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir has now said that the mediation offer is not on the table anymore. “President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore,” said India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Fox News.
Last month, at a joint press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump had said that PM Modi had sought his mediation/arbitration on Kashmir issue.
However taking note of these comments, India had reacted firmly and reiterated its stand of bilateral resolution of all outstanding issues between the two neighbours. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had stated India’s position and also clarified that no such request for mediation was made by PM Modi.
He had tweeted, “We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also made the intergovernmental organization’s stance very clear that it is a bilateral issue as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. Shringla repeated the UN stance and said, “So, this is not an issue that is to be settled with, third parties. I think that was something that President Trump clarified and made clear.”
India has for long maintained that all the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan are to be resolved bilaterally. Shimla Pact signed between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan on 2nd July 1972 clearly stated that “That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations.”
Moreover, India and United States have both indicated that they have no record of the Kashmir issue being discussed between the two leaders when they had met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka last month. According to sources the US is believed to have informally confirmed to the Indian side that neither the White House or the US Department of State have any of the official records of claims made by President Donald Trump. On the Indian side too, the Ministry of External Affairs had confirmed there was not even any remote discussion on Kashmir that could have set off a misunderstanding.
While India stated its stand, several US lawmakers also distanced themselves from the comments made by the US President. US Congressman Brad Sherman had tweeted, “Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re #Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing.” He also added that he apologized to Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla for Trump’s amateurish and embarrassing mistake.